Mercyhurst North East pitching Coach Ron Bretz was recently honored with an induction into the Western New York Hall of Fame. Bretz was given the honor based on a broad collection of softball accomplishments.
Bretz got into softball more than 40 years ago as a player, but after a 19 year playing career, turned to coaching at a variety of levels, which he still does today. Bretz, who was known for his pitching and hitting began his career with Worster Motor Lines and finished it with the Corner Bar, leading his team in batting average and on-base percentage most years, helping his team win several league titles along the way. He was also named Most Valuable Player in three tournaments.
Bretz has coached both high school (Ripley) and college softball. Along with a friend, and fellow softball player, Bretz started the only fourth through sixth grade girls league, utilizing his varsity players as coaches. He then organized a seventh and eighth grade modified team and the first girls junior varsity team in Chautauqua County at the Class D level.
Bretz currently serves as an assistant coach with the Mercyhurst-North East women's team, which has won 281 games during his eight years with the team, including six conference titles, eight regional and district championships and eight appearances in the NJCAA Division II World Series. As the pitching coach, Bretz has coached four All-American pitchers. "I have met so many lifelong friends that contributed to my knowledge of the game," Bretz said. "The most satisfaction I got from my years of playing is that I have been blessed to be able to carry this knowledge and love for the game, not only to the high school level, but onto the college level.
"To be able to make a difference in a student-athlete's life, both on and off the field, has been very satisfying," Bretz added. "It all started from playing the game with so many role models, learning from each and every one of them. I have many memories and I cannot give enough thanks to all the people who have influenced my career."